Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Stay there 'cause I'll be coming over


Reasons, many. The most important -> Hyeyeon is probably moving to Finland for working here. Now it all depends on the company, but I have a good feeling about that. They can't decide not to hire someone who has special knowledge about LG and Asian markets. I'm just so happy I could explode! Then we can have tea evenings and Sirpa's fatburning on Saturdays and just talk talk talk talk talk :)

My job is also so great. I've had meetings with so nice people and we're planning on making library much more immigrant-friendly. There really is need for that! I'm planning on workshops, art exhibitions, library guidances for immigrants, leaflets about library in different languages etc. What could be better?

I'm studying Korean, I bought Korean keyboard stickers, I ordered Korean language books from Gmarket (finally in English and available international shipping!) and it all just makes more sense now when Hyeyeon is coming. She can correct my horrible pronounciation, especially the letter ㅓ...

My extreme favourite song at the moment. HERE. I've been listening to it for 3 hours now.

I can't take any new photos because I forgot the loader of my camera battery in Korea. So just boring texts and old photos until I get my wire back. More soon!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Just some photos and explanations.

I'm still not recovered after Korea. It's some kind of reverse cultural shock...When I arrived in Incheon airport, everything was somehow familiar although I had never been there before. It was new but at the same time it was very easy to adapt and I didn't experience any cultural shock. Or at least if I think about that time now, nothing was a big surprise for me there.

Incheon airport, sunny and cold day. Hyeyeon, Hejin and Kitak came to take us from the aiport, I continued to Hyeyeon's place by airport limousine bus, other went by car to the guesthouse where Juha's brother and sister were staying.

2 photos from Gyeongbokgung, the biggest palace in Seoul. Snow was melting and it felt like Finnish spring. The palace area was very big so it took us couple of hours to walk around there. Then we were so hungry that we continued to the best food place in Insadong (my opinion!) -> Sanchon!

This was a vegetarian restaurant, whose owner is an ex-monk and the food is based on Buddhist traditional dishes. Floor was warm, food was full of surprises and good and the atmosphere was serene.

Our one-day-trip to DMZ was kind of sad because of the fog. When we visited 3rd tunnel, it didn't bother at all (what was bothering me was the small tunnel so deep underground, ugh!) but we didn't go to Dorasan Observatory, because there was just too much fog and we wouldn't have been able to see anything. These 2 photos are showing my best attempts to look inside North Korea. First one is from Dorasan Station, which is the closes railway station to the border (and there was a spooky feeling, because there are no-one travelling to North Korea and the station was almost empty except the tourists who were walking around). In the second photo you see a North Korean building and we might have seen a soldier there too!

Myeongdong, local department stores (we went in and came out as soon as possible, because everything looked so expensive there!) and the best shopping streets are to the left. So many cars, so big buildings...But it didn't feel uncomfortable, I'd rather say it was kind of cosy!

View from Namsan mountain, where the local Puijo tower (called Seoul tower) is located. Nice views over the city, which just continued and continued and continued to every direction. But I'm not so comfortable in high places, so I was mainly looking at people and wondering about things. Yellow bus number 2 which took us to the mountain was an interesting experience, we saw so many foreigners! During that trip there were days when we didn't see any. We didn't go to Itaewon (district with western shops and people), so that might be one reason.

Oh my sweet Seongkwan and Hyeyeon! I hadn't seen Seongkwan in 5 years and he looked just the same as then! My fall 2004 was very special because of these 2, we went to Ruka to try snowboarding and spent the christmas together at my mom's place. Here we are in Starbucks, drinking coffee and tea, talking about our lives. It felt so heartwarming!

Shopping street in Gwangju. Most of the signs were only in Korean there, in Seoul it was easier to find the places you wanted to go. But getting lost is also fun! (We didn't go to MacDonalds in Korea, not even once! Pizzas and other western food was very expensive there, for example a small pizza from Domino's was around 11 euros...)

Rice cakes, Gwangju. When I say something about rice cakes in Finland, people always imagine western style rice cakes which get stuck in your mouth and which have no taste. Korean rice cakes come in so many different shapes and tastes! I loved rainbow rice cake but also sesame rice cakes were awesome.

One evening Hyeyeon came home from work early and we decided walk 5 minutes to the closest Starbucks. She's wearing a scarf I knitted for her :) We were just talking and drinking coffee + tea (Hyeyeon is a coffee addict, but she tries to quit!) and after that we went to Domino's to buy that small, damn expensive pizza. And how impossible it was to get a vegetarian pizza! It took 10 minutes to explain what we want to have in it and what we don't want to have in it. Most extreme ingredient in that pizza was sweet potato mousse :D

Coex mall was one of the biggest shopping centres. I especially loved one huge bookshop and I bought 3 "Learn Korean" books from there. And in the end we found a cafe, where we could get something vegetarian! Despite of opposite beliefs, it's quite impossible to find vegetarian food from Korea. Many side dishes are vegetarian of course, but main foods usually have some seafood, fish or meat in them. Twice we ordered what we thought was vegetarian (and also our korean friends thought so) but there was seafood in both of the foods. So I just picked them out and ate the rest :)

Coex Aquarium was full of families, but I didn't pay any attention to them...There were too many interesting creatures to look at!

Our friend Kitak's parents have an octopus restaurant and the food looked like this. It felt so bad when they put these octopuses to boiling water alive and they were squirming under the vegetables! I didn't try (sometimes I'm happy to be a vegetarian), but Juha tried and said it feels weird in his mouth. All the others (koreans and japanese) loved the food!

Yetchatjip (old tea house) in Insadong. Birds were flying around us when we sipped our excellent teas (Quince tea = heaven). I want to have a teahouse like this in Finland please.

Just some basic photos from Seoul, taken by Juha because I was at Hyeyeon's place having nice fever (39 degrees).

Time for weekly quiz now. Hopefully soon I'm going to feel more normal. And I didn't buy a new camera, I really hated haggling and couldn't trust the salespeople. Maybe next time :)